My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Saturday, September 30, 2006

Isaiah 4

Forced polygamousness

Summary:
Then seven hot babes will grab Pete, desperating wanting to marry him.

But after all this horrible judgement, Jerusalem will be beautiful and pure. The holy will be left. God's glory will constantly be on the temple.

Key verse:
5. Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy.

My thoughts:
I have oft quoted Isaiah 4:1 in support of my polygamous views. Isaiah is a true and trustworthy prophet.

I quite like this depiction of a restored Jerusalem. It focusses on purity and God's presence.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Isaiah 3

Who needs leaders anyway...

Summary:
God is going to take away all of Jerusalem's resources including human resources. Those dumbass kids will be your 'best and brightest'. Leaders will be sought, but not found.

It's all because Jerusalem is full of sin. It doesn't even try to hide it.

God is coming to judge. All the sluts will lose all their short skirts and boob tubes. The men will die in battle.

Key verse:
14. It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
the plunder from the poor is in your houses.

My thoughts:
God is clearly pissed off. He has called his vineyard, Israel, to be everything that the world was not, but the Israel is worse than the world.

The unfortunate truth is that the same could be said about the church too. Sigh.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Isaiah 2

Zion

Summary:
In the future the temple will be rebuilt, and people will flock there to learn. The world will find peace from Jerusalem.

You've forgotten God! You chase after New Age religions, religions of places with great wealth, but many false gods. We must humble ourselves, because God is coming and he's pissed off. He's planning a day when everything will be put below him; there will be no more idols. On that day, everyone will run and hide.

Key verse:
3. Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.

My thoughts:
It's quite funny now to think of Jerusalem as the peaceful centre of the world. It seems to start all the wars. It would be just like God, though, to use the most unlikely thing, Jerusalem, to bring peace.

Notice here the judgement, but also restoration involved in God's coming day. Verses 1-5 are of restoration, but verses 6-22 mostly speak judgement.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Isaiah 1

Sinful nation

Summary:
God's children have rejected him. Even animals know their owner - but not Israel!
Stupid nation. You're down and out! Stop fighting God. All our cities are ruined. Luckily God left some of us alive...
God hates all your pointless religious activities; the offerings and the festivals. God's not going to listen until you sort your lives out, and help those who need it.
God is making a deal with us! He will wipe the slate clean if we just do what is right now.
We used to be beautiful, but now we're just slutty. Our leaders are useless.
So God is going to go on a purging rampage. He'll restore us to the time of the judges, and return us to our former glory.

Key verse:
18. Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

My thoughts:
Well here we are in the prophets. In some ways they are the most significant parts of the old testament with regard to Jesus.

Sometimes it's easy to get lost in the prophets, and they often seem to be saying the same thing over and over again with weird images. We're going to try to avoid getting lost!

The message here is simple. Israel has turned away from God and is not in a good state. God will punish and purify, and restore Israel. Notice God's restoring action, rather than he destructive action in this case. Christians would hold that Israel restoration is ultimately through Jesus, whose mission was to restore Israel.

Also notice God's rejection of the religious sacraments of Jewish life. Though these were instituted by God within Judaism, they were always secondary to righteousness and a real relationship with God. Without those things first, the religious activity is pointless.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Song of Songs 8

"Wouldn't it be weird if we were related..."

Summary:
Girl:
If only we were related. Then we could kiss and no-one would think it's wrong!
Don't start love until the time is right!

Her friends:
Look! He's coming!

Girl:
Love me with an unstoppable love, and keep me by your heart!

Her friends:
Let's make the little sister all pretty.

Girl:
I'm already pretty.
Come away with me Solomon!

Key verse:
10. my breasts are like towers.

My thoughts:
The key verse is ridiculous. Song of Songs is weird. It doesn't make heaps of sense. I hope you get something out of it!

I would've thought being brother and sister would have made the public perception worse... I guess I'm not an ancient Semite though...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Song of Songs 7

Mmmm.... fruit...

Summary:
Man:
Ah! Your feet! Your belly-button! You boobs are like deer. You're beautiful!

Your breasts are like fruit. I want to grab them.

Woman:
I'm yours! Let's go out into the country together!

Key verses:
7-8. your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, "I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit."

My thoughts:
That's just dirty. That isn't even subtle. The woman in this poem is a slut. She should have more self-respect!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Song of Songs 6

When a man loves a woman!

Summary:
Her friends:
Where is he?

Woman:
The 'garden'. We are each others.

Man:
You rock! You overwhelm me. Stop it! Oh, behave!
You're unique! I'd rather you than hundreds of women! Well... tens...

His friends:
Wow! A raging hottie Shulammite is coming!

Man:
What the?

Key verse:
10.Who is this that appears like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
majestic as the stars in procession?

My thoughts:
I'm enjoying summarising Song of Songs. I'm getting a bit silly though. Maybe it's just cos sex is funny or something.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Song of Songs 5

His ____ is like ____.

Summary:
Man:
I have had my fill at your garden.

His friends:
Bro, that is sweet!

Woman:
I'm half asleep, and then my man knocks on the window. Should I get up? I can't be bothered getting dressed again (Hot Dang!). But I got all excited, so I let him in, but by then he was gone! I must find him!

Her friends:
What's so great about this fulla?

Woman:
His physical qualities are analogous to many beautiful things. That's what's so special about him.

Key verse:
3. I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?

My thoughts:
This cracks me up... She's all like "Do I HAVE to get up... gosh!". Or at least that's my interpretation.

If his arms were really rods of gold, then how would he bend them? How would the internal anatomy and nerve structure work? This is clearly ridiculous.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Song of Songs 4

Daaamn!

Summary:
Lover:
You're hot! Your teeth, you mouth, and your neck.

Your breasts are like animals. Which is good, apparently.

Damn!

Come with me to a far away land. You've got me around your finger. You're better than booze. You are a very special garden!

Lady:
Blow on my garden. Taste my fruits.

Key verse:
9. You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes

My thoughts:
Ewh...

I agree with the Lover's mention of teeth first. Good teeth are vital.

Sometimes people think the usage of 'sister' for a wife or something is a bit sick, but then just think, we call our wives and girlfriends 'babe' or 'baby'. Now that's sick!

Read today's key verse. There really is no hope for us males!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Song of Songs 3

A rich King's wedding

Summary:
I looked for my man, but couldn't find me. I kept searching. I finally found him, and took him to Mum's place.

Don't get love started until it's ready!

Look at Solomon, coming up with all his wealth! Look how expensive his stuff is on his wedding day!

Key verse:
5. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

My thoughts:
It's interesting that even in Song of Songs, the most erotically charged part of all the Bible, there is still a clear warning that love should not be thrown around freely, because though it is the most amazing thing in the world, it is also the most dangerous thing!

I think we should all trust God more with our relationships. When we freak out about it, we're basically telling God that we don't trust his ability to have control of our lives. We shouldn't be scared of relationships, and there will be times when we are to pursue it. However, we shouldn't worry about it too much, because we know God's in control!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Song of Songs 2

Stupid foxes...

Summary:
Lady:
I'm like a nice flower amongst.

Lover:
Yes.

Lady:
My man is better than the others. He feeds me well.
He's coming to get me! Life is good! It's like spring again.

Lover:
Show yourself to me! I want to catch the foxes!

Key verse:
15. Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.

My thoughts:
I once heard a whole sermon on this verse. They were talking about how our relationships get 'plagued' with little 'foxes', which can 'ruin' our 'vineyard', and if we don't 'catch' the 'foxes' whilst they are 'little', then they grow into 'big' 'foxes'. We need to 'catch' the 'little' 'foxes' in our 'relationships'.

It was very metaphorical.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Song of Songs 1

This be sexual speak, yar!

Summary:
Wench:
Aye wishes to be kissed by ye many times. Ye be smelling better than a poop deck on midsummer's eve! Yar! All me fellows wenchs shall rightly dote on ye!

I be dark as new-moon night, but I be not a scurvy-dog! Yargh! Where be yer resting place?

Pirate:
Ye make me 'eart pound like the waves!

Wench:
Ye be better than stolen treasure!

Key verse:
1. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth

My thoughts:
Song of Songs be seen in many a different light by many a swash-buckling reader! Shiver me timbers! It be a cacophany of views!

But, yargh! The first be first! This be an erotic love poem between a wench and his pirate lover.

I be one scurvy dog who accepts this be interpreted in light of Christ and the Church, but this be not the first interpretation, yar!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ecclesiastes 12

Well that makes me feel better

Summary:
Appreciate God and life before you get old and cynical; Before you don't trust anything and you end up dying, with your spirit going back to God.

In summary, the teacher knows what he's talking about. Don't change what he's said (like I have by adding this). In conclusion, do what God says and fear him.

Key verse:
13. here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

My thoughts:
This conclusion is explicitly written by someone other than the Teacher, who supposedly wrote the rest of the book. I do tend towards Ecclesiastes being better without it. It is more true to itself, and the Conclusionist (I love theology) is blatantly disregarding his own words.

Oh well. It's good to be young.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ecclesiastes 11

Sucks to be old!

Summary:
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. A tree will lie where it falls. Watch the weather to know when to plant and reap.

Enjoy life, especially when you're young. Do what you want!

Key verse:
9. Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see

My thoughts:
I'm not saying "let's be evil", but I definitely think that we could take more risks. Our whole society is set up to be careful, but I feel that this is very numbing. We should be doing crazy things which are risky! We should do what we feel like doing. Not things that are nasty, hurtful, or neglectful, but things that are extreme and crazy. This is especially true when we're young.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ecclesiastes 10

Political Jesus

Summary:
Like a drop of cyanide in a bowl of soup, a little foolishness ruins a whole bunch of wisdom.
Right wing is better than left wing.
Stay calm when people are angry at you.
Hard-workers are actually more likely to get injured whilst working. Gutted.
Snakes charmers don't like being bitten.
Money solves everything.
Don't say bad things about the rich behind their backs. They might be listening...

Key verse:
2. The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of the fool to the left.

My thoughts:
Clearing God is right-wing! If you ain't right... you're wrong!

Love Live President Bush!!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ecclesiastes 9

It's all by chance

Summary:
You can't tell whether you're heading towards love or hate. Everyone ends up in the same place, no matter whether they've been good or bad. This is evil.

At least you have hope when you're still alive. You know you're going to die, but at least you know something.

So, enjoy your life and your wife. Work hard, whlist you still can. Everything happens by chance.

A wise man saves a small town against a big army, but he is forgotten. Wisdom is better than power.

Key verse:
3. This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all.

My thoughts:
The Teacher as an early existentialist? I think so. Here he states that nothing has any purpose, but everything is by chance, so we just make the most of our lives. It lacks the sharp rejection of conformity of post-modern existentialism, but the concepts are in there perhaps.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ecclesiastes 8

Our Lord, the King

Summary:
Follow the king. He is supreme. Then things will be sweet.

People don't learn if they aren't punished quickly. But even though bad people live a long time, it's better to live right.

Enjoy life as you can! The injustice that the good are punished and the wicked rewarded makes no sense!

No one can really understand what's going on.

Key verse:
17. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun.

My thoughts:
I find some of the King worship that goes on in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes a bit disturbing. He is seen as God on earth often.

This makes me think two things. 1) Suspicion and mistrust of those who rule us is not seen as the norm for faith (This is reiterated by Jesus). 2) The king as described here is a shadow of the King which is to come in Jesus, who is God on earth.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ecclesiastes 7

Be good... but not that good.

Summary:
A good reputation is important.
It's better to mourn than to party. The end is better than the beginning.
Listen to wise people.
Bribes corrupt.
Don't think that the olden days were better.
Wisdom is good, and preserves your life.
Be happy in good times, but know that God makes bad times too.
Avoid extremes.
No-one is perfect.
Don't listen to what everyone says about you; remember some of the things you have said!
Wisdom is hard to find, and when I searched, I just found women who were traps, and that we've all left God's plan for us.

Key verse:
18. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.
20. There is not a righteous man on earth
who does what is right and never sins.

My thoughts:
In this chapter Ecclesiastes feels quite a bit like Proverbs, but with a bit more of a depressing tone.

There's quite a lot of cools stuff in this chapter. Not always listening to what people say; the sin of all people; the condemnation of bribes; not judging the future on the past.

The call away from extremes is interesting, because it introduces the concept of being 'over-righteous'. What would this mean in practice?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ecclesiastes 6

Possessions

Summary:
It sucks that people can have wealth but can't enjoy it. Someone else gets to enjoy it!

If you can't enjoy it, then you might as well have died at birth. At least you'd get a longer rest then.

We're never satisfied. What's the point? We don't have enough time to figure it out. Who knows what happens when we die.

Key verse:
7. All man's efforts are for his mouth,
yet his appetite is never satisfied.

My thoughts:
Hmmm... I am wondering how often this happens. I know that a lot of poor people all there hard work taken away from them, but few people who have a lot of wealth have it taken from them, and given to a stranger.

Unless the Teacher is talking about the how everyone loses their stuff in death...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ecclesiastes 5

Wealth

Summary:
God is awesome. Be careful when you come into his temple, and make sure you keep your promises to him!

Don't be surprised at the oppressed poor. Their wealth gets distributed up the ranks all the way to the king.

You can never have 'enough' money. I find that the poor hard worker generally sleeps better than the rich. Naked we come. Naked we leave.

Be happy in your work and with what you're got. Be too busy to think about life. It just depresses you.

Key verse:
15. Naked a man comes from his mother's womb,
and as he comes, so he departs.

My thoughts:
I think it is a bizarre truth that we all want to be richer, but that richer people generally aren't happier than people who just have enough.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ecclesiastes 4

Spooning and strong cords

Summary:
I saw the oppressed. It is so sad. The death have a better life than them. Best of all is to have never even existed.

A lonely man works hard, but gets nothing for it.

Two people work better than one! They can spoon for warmth! However, a three-stranded cord is very strong!

Better to be poor young and wise, than old rich and stubborn.

Key verse:
12. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

My thoughts:
This key verse seems to crop up in the weirdest of places... It seems to have been referred within Christian circles to marriage. The idea is that a man and woman and God combined are a cord not quickly broken. Which is a fair enough teaching point.

I also heard an exorcist on TV using the "three-stranded cord of Ecclesiastes 4:12" to bind demons. Interesting...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ecclesiastes 3

A time for everything

Summary:
Everything happens in due course. Death, life; hate, love; happiness, unhappiness. Everything, though is beautiful in its time.

Talking of time, we all have eternity on our hearts, but God doesn't let us grasp it!

What God does, lasts.

We're just like animals. Nothing says our spirit goes anywhere other than where the spirits of animals go.

Key verses:
8. a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
11. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men
20. all come from dust, and to dust all return.

My thoughts:
This is a very famous chapter and it is often quoted.

I find verse 21 interesting, because it shows a clear knowledge of the concept of an afterlife, but just doesn't say that there is one. It is perhaps influences by other dualistic understandings of nature, where the spirit and body are entirely separate.

A time for everything aye? It's perhaps sometimes hard to see a time for hate. I can imagine this chapter has been used by libertines to justify their actions.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ecclesiastes 2

Life sucks

Summary:
So I tried chasing pleasure. I tried the simple and direct pleasures but that was pointless. Then I tried massive building projects, but when I looked over all that I did, I wondered "What's the point?".

So I thought about wisdom. Surely wisdom is better than being dumb? It is, but the wise and the foolish share the same fate in the end. It's pointless.

So I hated life and everything it entailed. Wisdom, labour, or pleasure. What's the point? We can't do any more than simply enjoy our work. God gives happiness to the hard workers, but again, what's the point?

Key verse:
24. A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.

My thoughts:
The international group at my church did an evangelistic evening called "What's the point?", and it basically tried to explain to people that if there is no God, and if there is not Christ, then what's the point? What's the point of all our hard work? What's the point in being good?

The Teacher is struggling with the same things. I more and more see Ecclesiastes as how the world is without Jesus.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ecclesiastes 1

Ngah! Nothing makes sense!

Summary:
Bah! It doesn't make any sense! Why do we bother working? Nothing changes. No matter what we do, nature just keep pressing forward.

There is nothing new. The ancients become forgotten.

I'm the King and I've studied everything. We all work in vain. It's pointless. Even my studies are pointless.

Key verses:
2. Meaningless! Meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.
9. there is nothing new under the sun.
18. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.

My thoughts:
The usage of the word 'meaningless' in all of Ecclesiastes is not entirely clear. It's a key word for Ecclesiastes, so its worth knowing what it means!

Some possibilities are: Like a breath, or fleeting. Void of meaning. I have also heard that it could mean just a general cognitive dissonance. I've tried to express this with my "Bah! It doesn't make any sense!".

Ecclesiastes has a very stoic approach to life. For me, it appears to describe life without Christ. If there is no Christ, then as far as us humans are concerned there is no God, because he is not revealed to us. If there is no God, then there is no point in what we do. We struggle and work without meaning. It doesn't last. It only has temporary significance.

I will also say, though I'm sure Mark would protest, that Ecclesiastes should really be read in light of its conclusion.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Proverbs 31

Mum's words of advice

Summary:
Don't waste your time with women and alcohol. Let the hopeless people get drunk. Always fight for those who can't fight for themselves.

A good wife is so precious, and is appreciated by all. She works hard for her family, and is resourceful. She cares about the poor. She looks after her family and is confident in herself. She is wise and blessed.

She fears God over and above her beauty.

Key verses:
8. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
30. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

My thoughts:
I think it is one of the highest calls of the Christian, to fight for those who cannot do it for themselves. That is why of all the controversial issues surrounding Christianity, I make no effort to blunten my views in regard to abortion. The unborn are completely defenceless, and no-one will fight their cause if we don't.

And now, the wife of noble character. I think the Bible is often portrayed as sexist, and it does appear that the Bible does make a distinction between the genders in a way that secular society does not want to. I do, however, think that this image of woman in the Bible is a very positive and feminine one, however our society would probably label it as sexist aswell.

I guess I'm not female though.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Proverbs 30

Agur's rant

Summary:
Agur says "I don't know anything, especially about God. Tell me if you know! God's Word is perfect, so don't change it.

"God, keep me from lies, and give me what I need. No more, no less.

"Four things never have enough. 1. Death, 2. barren women, 3. barren land, 4. and fire.

"I don't get four things. 1. How eagles fly, 2. how snakes move, 3. how a ship sails, 4. and love between a man and a woman.

"Four things suck. 1. A King who was a servant, 2. a rich fool, 3. an unloved wife, 4. and a powertripping maidservant.

"Four small things are very smart. 1. Ants, 2. coneys, 3. locusts, 4. and lizards.

"Four things march proudly. 1. A lion, 2. a rooster, 3. a male goat, 4. a King with his army."

Key verse:
19. the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden.

My thoughts:
It's nice to have a chapter which has some structure for once!

Well... Agur seems to love that fourfold construction! I probably wouldn't've chosen the same four things for each parameter he chose, but I guess that's why I don't get to write the Bible!

You gotta wonder about a guy like Agur. Who is he? How did he get his words written into the Bible? We'll never ever know. And I personally find that a bit weird.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Proverbs 29

A collection of proverbs

Summary:
Flattery doesn't work.
Good people care about the poor.
God has power over both rich and poor.
Where God is not revealed, people throw away their plans.
Have little respect for your servants.
Don't fear man.
Don't go to the king for justice. Go to God.

Key verse:
25. Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

My thoughts:
So. Yea. Proverbs. This chapter seems to have a couple of verses which make servants seem very dumb. That's not very nice.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Proverbs 28

Intentional blindness

Summary:
Rulers shouldn't oppress the poor.
If you don't listen to the law, then God won't listen to your prayers!
If you hide sin, it gets worse. You get mercy if you confess.
Favouritism isn't good. But you'll do what you can to survive anyway.
Don't trust yourself, but trust in true wisdom. Give to the poor.

Key verse:
27. He who gives to the poor will lack nothing,
but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

My thoughts:
We close our eyes so often. We close our eyes to the poverty so many people suffer to maintain our comfortable lifestyles. We close our eyes to our own ridiculous wealth, and often even consider ourselves poor. It's not justified.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Proverbs 27

Iron sharpens iron

Summary:
Don't boast about tomorrow. It might be crap.
Let others praise you. Just don't do it yourself.
It's better to be blunt than to hide love.
Bug your neighbour when things get tough. Don't go across the world to bug your family.
We can sharpen each other like iron on iron.
Our heart bears our reflection.
Our eyes are never satisfied. We always want more.
Look after your stuff, and then you can reap its rewards.

Key verse:
17. As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.

My thoughts:
I think it is important if you want to be a strong growing Christian to be part of a good Christian community. We grow by our interactions with each other, just like iron sharpens iron. We should be embracing this contact rather than making excuses or avoiding it.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Proverbs 26

To be or not to be. Or both. They're not mutually exclusive!

Summary:
Beat the fools!
Don't answer a fool. No wait... do.
Don't trust fools with anything. They hang around their foolishness like a dog and its puke.
Don't see yourself as wise.
A liar who says he's joking is worse than a murderous madman.
If you don't fuel gossip, it doesn't grow!

Key verse:
4-5. Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you will be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

My thoughts:

Ah yes. The mother of all Biblical contradictions. Surely if we can explain this one away, we can explain away the rest! And surely that's the point of Biblical scholarship...

So. Here's my thoughts. Proverbs are rules, they are just correct stand-alone statements which confirm to good logic/wisdom. I would suggest that both of these statements conform to logic that makes good sense. They appear as a contradiction (perhaps rightly) when you focus on the commands (Answer/Do not answer), but they are not intended as commands or rules. They are both proverbs which make sense. How to apply them in ones life is another matter.

So basically, my point is that I can lie and then say that I'm only joking, and then there'll be no problems. I live my life based on this.